I’ve always wondered: can a pedal that is clean by its nature improve the sound in almost any situation? That is, can it be used not only as a booster, but also at other points in the signal chain?
Yes, in the case of the Xotic RC Booster, definitely yes. But let’s go with odine. I had already talked about other Xotic pedals at the Xotic SL Drive, noting how good it was. As in that case, the RC Booster (which actually originated well before the SL Drive) also proves to be an excellent quality pedal.
Usually we rock guitarists look for pedals that distort or dirty the signal in some way, but we very hardly take into account those that instead act on the clean signal.
On the other hand, a clean booster, as well as obviously functioning as a booster, can radically improve the signal of the whole chain, if put at the beginning …
It arrives in a very poor cardboard box, to the point that if you buy it used you almost doubt that you have taken only one. But no (or at least I hope so for you!), The packaging is just a white cardboard box with no writing except the brand and, importantly, the serial number of the pedal.
The external metal box of the Xotic RC Booster is a common Hammond container, in die-cast aluminum, 1590 series, IP54, measuring 112.4 x 60.5 x 31mm (I know them because I have used them too to make some handcrafted pedals). Excellent, nice solid and very resistant.
There are 4 potentiometers: volume, gain, treble and bass. It must be said that equalization, unlike almost any other pedal effect, is active! This means that at 12 o’clock of treble and bass they are neutral, that is, they do not affect the signal, while at less than 12 they attenuate the signal and more than 12 they boost it actively. Almost all other pedals use passive pots, which actually cut only the signal, without actively adding anything, like almost all amplifiers for that matter.
The power supply is standard, 9V, with internal or external central negative battery. Another peculiarity is that it can also be powered externally at 15V, for greater headroom. It works? Yes. But it works so well even at 9V that it’s not essential.
There is one thing to say: zero background noise! It is truly built with the highest quality components, coupled with excellent engineering.
Xotic RC Booster: as a booster …
Placed after a distortion it raises the sound up to 20 dB, giving it a noticeable paste, but always remaining clean. The drive is lightweight, and adds some compression, but its characteristic is to boost the signal without making it too dirty.
The dynamics of the Xotic RC Booster are insane and the sound quality is incredible. It enhances and revitalizes the sound so much that it would be tempting to keep it always on, perhaps as a buffer at the beginning or at the end of the chain… And in fact that’s what I’ve been doing for a long time.
Another very important feature is that having an EQ active can really heavily modify the sound. For example, by over-emphasizing highs or lows, or by cutting them, or better still by emphasizing the mids while simultaneously decreasing highs and lows, in order to come out more strongly from the mixer.
Xotic RC Booster: as a buffer at the beginning (or at the end) of the chain …
The Xotic RC Booster is a pedal that emphasizes harmonics, restoring the highs and mids in all situations and any chain of effects / amps. At first the impression is that yes, he is cute, but in the end he doesn’t do anything much. We are used to overdrives that modify the sound in a heavy way, to the point that a clean effect is likely to go unnoticed.
The point is that if when you turn it on you don’t feel the difference so enormously (at first glance, then you realize it all right …) then when you turn it off you realize what you have lost. The sound suddenly goes out, it seems to have the strings older than 6 months. But this was the sound I had before turning it on, which I have always used, which I have researched and which I have always liked… At that point you understand how much the Xotic RC Booster really does.
You just feel how you revitalize all those frequencies that are lost along the signal chain, responsible for that minor “hit” of the signal itself.
Xotic RC Booster: as a light overdrive …
The Xotic RC Booster is a booster, clean, but also has a gain pot. How much does it have? Little, it will never be a true overdrive. But that doesn’t mean it’s not great at this function, i.e. as a slight overdrive. Indeed, I would say it excels great!
It is not very distorted, but it still manages to reach the levels of gain necessary to smudge the sound in a VERY interesting way, I would say to the “Klon Centaur”, if I pass the distant comparison. That is, it is a light overdrive, but perfect for dirty rhythm parts or to simulate a ripple (not too light) in the amplifier.
An example is worth a thousand discussions
Here is a video done really well, in which you understand what the Xotic RC Booster is made of (if it goes wrong you can put the video as background music while you work ????):
The Xotic RC Booster is a fantastic pedal, whether you use it as a booster after a distortion, whether you use it as a buffer before or after the chain, and whether you use it as a light overdrive.
It costs, costs a lot, and is out of production as well (now they have made the RC Booster V2 version, with two activation buttons for two different gain levels – I have to buy it sooner or later! ???? – which in the same standard size box make it really compact and versatile -> see here on the Xotic website).
My advice? If you can give it a try, al is really nice. And if you want to get back on your shopping, the Xotic RC Booster is a cash check, you’ll always resell it without losing anything.
Published on musicanza.it on: 18/07/2020.